back to article US brings first-of-its-kind criminal charges of Bitcoin-based sanctions-busting

US prosecutors have accused an American citizen of illegally funneling more than $10 million in Bitcoin into an economically sanctioned country. It's said the resulting criminal charges of sanctions busting through the use of cryptocurrency are the first of their kind to be brought in the US. Under the United States' …

  1. HildyJ Silver badge


    The best part of the unredacted part of the opinion:

    “Issue One: virtual currency is untraceable? WRONG. ... Issue Two: sanctions do not apply to virtual currency? WRONG,” from Saturday Night Live skits parodying John McLaughlin's TV show (most famous line -"Jane you ignorant slut").

    In conclusion he wrote “like Jason Voorhees, the myth of virtual currency’s anonymity refuses to die."

    It's not the first time. In his ruling on the Bitfinex warrant, he concludes with a quote from The Big Lebowski. The Hon. Zia M. Faruqui abides.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Redacted

      "Jane you ignorant slut" wasn't from the McLaughlin skits, it was from their parodies of point/counterpoint type issue of the day discussions in their news segment.

  2. redpola

    As is common in this type of story, the language used betrays ignorance. Nobody with an understanding of Bitcoin claims it is untraceable- indeed a massive global public database called the blockchain exists, listing literally every Bitcoin transaction ever conducted, and is the fundament of that cryptocurrency. What is true, however, is that accountability is difficult to prove- unless exchanges are brought into the equation, who may be pressed to list as assets to government entities the Bitcoin addresses they use. Through that process of accountability it may be proven that Bitcoin “moved from one country to another” which is the charge here. Simply put, if the accused hadn’t used exchanges, which is perfectly possible, there would be no case since a Bitcoin address has no geographical location. I also suspect that it didn’t help that the accused was practically bragging about evading the law.

  3. MrGreen


    Isn’t it funny how the US prosecutors love making these Bitcoin cases public but we hear very little of the massive amount of fiat money laundering that goes on by the big banks?

    0.15% of illegal activity uses crypto.

    3-5% uses US dolllars.

  4. Insert sadsack pun here Silver badge

    "Under the United States' International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEA), it is illegal for a citizen or institution within the US to transfer funds, directly or indirectly, to a sanctioned country, such as Iran, Cuba, North Korea, or Russia"

    Russia doesn't fit here. It is not the subject of comprehensive sanctions. Certain Russian banks and persons are sanctioned, but it remains legal for US persons to send money (and bitcoin) to and from Russia.

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